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energy consumption

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The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recently released International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) projects that world energy consumption will grow by 48% between 2012 and 2040. Most of this growth will come from countries that are not in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including countries where demand is driven by strong economic growth, particularly in Asia. Non-OECD Asia, including China and India, accounts for more than half of the world’s total increase in energy consumption over the projection period.

Concerns about energy security, effects of fossil fuel emissions on the environment, and sustained, long-term high world oil prices support expanded use of nonfossil renewable energy sources and nuclear power. Renewables and nuclear power are the world’s fastest-growing energy sources over the projection period. Renewable energy increases by an average 2.6% per year through 2040; nuclear power increases by 2.3% per year.

Even though nonfossil fuels are expected to grow faster than fossil fuels (petroleum and other liquid fuels, natural gas, and coal), fossil fuels still account for more than three-quarters of world energy consumption through 2040. Natural gas, which has a lower carbon intensity than coal and petroleum, is the fastest-growing fossil fuel in the outlook, with global natural gas consumption increasing by 1.9% per year. Rising supplies of tight gas, shale gas, and coalbed methane contribute to the increasing consumption of natural gas.

Although liquid fuels—mostly petroleum-based—remain the largest energy source, the liquids share of world marketed energy consumption is projected to fall from 33% in 2012 to 30% in 2040. As oil prices rise in the long term, many energy users adopt more energy-efficient technologies and switch away from liquid fuels when feasible.

Coal is the world’s slowest-growing energy source, rising by only 0.6% per year through 2040. Throughout the projection period, the top three coal-consuming countries are China, the United States, and India, which together account for more than 70% of world coal consumption. China alone currently accounts for almost half of the world’s total coal consumption, but a slowing economy and plans to implement policies to address air pollution and reduce carbon dioxide emissions mean that coal use in China will begin to decline in the later years of the projection period. Coal use in India continues to rise and surpasses U.S. coal consumption after 2030.

Much of the analysis conducted for the IEO2016 was done before the release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan (CPP). For this reason, the IEO2016 Reference case does not include the potential effects of the CPP regulations in the United States, analysis that shows the potential for significant reductions in U.S. coal consumption and increases in U.S. renewable consumption compared with the Reference case projection. Key tables and figures throughout the report provide results that also include the effects of the CPP where they differ significantly from the IEO2016 Reference case results, based on EIA’s analysis of the preliminary CPP rule. EIA’s upcoming Annual Energy Outlook will include the final CPP as part of the Reference case projection. The report will also consider the implications of alternative CPP implementation approaches for energy outcomes.


Source: EIA

Acciona Infraestructuras, Zaragoza Vivienda and CIRCE are taking part in a project funded by the European Commission that will develop a new package of retrofit solutions to achieve an 80% energy reduction. According to the European Commission, the construction sector represents around 40% of total consumption in the European Union and is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 36% of the total CO2 emissions from all Member States.

Apart from the potential that energy efficiency applied to the design of new buildings offers, the operation of the buildings during their useful life cycle also provides exceptional opportunities to decarbonise Europe’s economy, particularly in terms of consumption for heating and cooling. However, the replacement rate of the installations in the existing building stock with new systems is very low (1-1.5% per year), which despite representing an excellent environmental and economic opportunity, proves that there is a need for stimulus and promotion via research measures accompanied by administrative and economic support.

Moreover the sector is extremely fragmented, with over 50% of residential buildings being owned by private individuals. It is also a sector in which SMEs predominate (more than 95%). This is the context against which the BuildHeat project has emerged, an initiative financed by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme that aims to address all these challenges to achieve the refurbishment of residential buildings in Europe.Leer más…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

Aware of the importance of reducing energy consumption and of not wasting resources, the public administrations are launching energy efficiency projects in different fields. One such project involves street lighting, one of the costliest items on the budget given that electricity consumption per 1,000 residents is distributed as follows: 70% street lighting, 30% the rest. These consumption ratios are very high which adds to the complex financial situation facing many of Spain’s public administrations, not to mention aspects relating to environmental contamination. In such cases, energy efficiency projects assume a high level of importance and demonstrate their worth.

This is accentuated in the case of the local administrations. The harsh economic crisis that hit Spain has involved a before and an after in the energy efficiency services sector. Until fairly recently, city councils were not particularly worried about their energy consumption however as time went on without taking steps in this regard, this has translated into the mismanagement of municipal funds and increased levels of pollution and GHG emissions into the atmosphere.

Worse still, every month that goes by without taking measures as regards street lighting, for example, a town hall unnecessarily spends €5,500 for every 1,000 luminaires already installed, or €66,000 per year. In environmental terms, this is the same as saying that for every 1,000 luminaires on that are changed for more efficient units, a saving in pollutant emissions would be achieved equivalent to planting 125 football pitches worth of trees. In such a situation the only question that has to be asked is: can we allow this to happen? The answer is an easy one: of course not. Read more…

Miguel Ángel Zamorano Lucena
Director of Operations and Projects at Alisea ESCO
Director of the Gandía ESCO Project

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

Despite the high potential of passive strategies combined with solar systems for saving energy in buildings, the energy consumption of their temperature control requirements is one of the biggest problems facing today’s energy sector as it has severe repercussions on the environment. As a result, past decades have seen a growing interest in promoting energy efficiency in construction, which in turn has stimulated research into this area.

One such example includes international initiatives on a range of projects that form part of the ECBCS and SHC programmes from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Within the framework of current regulations, this interest has also been demonstrated through various European Directives and in the gradual entry into force of legislation on this subject (Technical Building Code. Updated Basic DB HE Document on Energy Saving 2013). The implementation of the new European Directive, EPBD 2010, requires technologies to be available that can achieve nearly zero energy buildings as well as methods to reliably assess and profile the energy performance of constructive components and buildings.

The majority of current regulations that refer to energy quality and to energy saving in the temperature control of buildings apply to the design phase, calculating the theoretical energy consumption, usually by using dynamic thermal simulation software. However, some studies have revealed that the real performance following construction of the building can be significantly different to this theoretical performance. It is clear that testing and in-depth modelling of real-scale buildings has to be carried out, reinforced by integrating an extensive range of low consumption energy technologies. Read more…

Julio Ramiro y ! and Antonio Caamaño
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and CIEMAT Group OMEGA-CM Project

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

On 16 February, the European Commission presented its first strategy to optimise heating and cooling in buildings and industries. The EU Heating and Cooling Strategy is the first EU initiative to address the energy used for heating and cooling in buildings and industry, which accounts for 50% of the EU’s annual energy consumption. By making the sector smarter, more efficient and sustainable, energy imports and dependency will fall, costs will be cut and emissions reduced. The Strategy is a key action of the Energy Union and will contribute to improving EU’s energy security and to addressing the post-COP 21 climate agenda.

Heating and cooling refers to the energy needed for warming and cooling buildings, whether residential or in the services sector (for example schools, hospitals, office buildings). It also includes the energy required by almost all industrial processes as well as cooling and refrigeration in the service sector, such as the retail sector (for example to preserve food across the supply chain, from production to supermarket and on to the customer). Currently, the sector accounts for 50% of the EU’s annual energy consumption, accounting for 13% of total oil consumption and 59% of total gas consumption (direct use only) in the EU. The latter equates to 68% of all gas imports. This is mainly because European buildings are old, which implies various problems, including:

• Almost half of the EU’s buildings have boilers installed prior to 1992, with an efficiency rate of below 60%.
• 22% of gas boilers, 34% of electric heaters, 47% of oil boilers and 58% of coal boilers are older than their technical lifetime. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY March 2016

Following the sharp increases in the price of energy over the last six years and the increasingly widespread incorporation of installations that offer added value to the establishment but which increase its energy expenditure (spas, swimming pools, gymnasiums, etc.), the hotel sector today is aware of the significance of energy as part of its operating costs. Proof of this is that fact that a large proportion of hotels have undertaken, or are considering carrying out, some form of measure to improve energy efficiency.

However a very large number of establishments lack knowledge and information regarding the energy consumption generated, which prevents the development of energy efficiency improvement measures and reductions in consumption with the sufficient technical solvency and the possibility of measuring and verifying the sought-after savings.

It is very important that the hotel owner improves their knowledge in terms of when, how, where and how much energy is consumed by the facilities of each hotel, as in this way they will have access to very valuable information to aid the decisionmaking process on the improvement measures to be carried out, offering a real tool to subsequently verify their effectiveness. Read more…

Coralía Pino
Project Manager, Department of Sustainability and EnergyEfficiency, the Hotel Institute for Technology (ITH)

Article published in: FuturENERGY January-February 2016

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In 2014, the share of energy from renewable sources in gross final energy consumption reached 16% in the EU, almost double the 2004 figure (8.5%), the first year for which the data is available. These figures come from a publication issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

Since 2004, the share of renewable sources in gross final energy consumption has grown significantly in all Member States. Compared with a year ago, it has increased in 24 of the 28 Member States.

With more than half of final energy consumption from renewable sources (52.6%), Sweden had by far the highest share, ahead of Latvia and Finland (both with 38.7%), Austria (33.1%) and Denmark (29.2%). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest proportions of renewables were registered in Luxembourg (4.5%), Malta (4.7%), the Netherlands (5.5%) and the United Kingdom (7%).

Each Member State has its own 2020 target. The national targets take into account the Member States’ different starting points, their renewable energy potential and economic performance. Among the 28 Member States, one third have already reached the level required to meet their national targets: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Finland and Sweden. Moreover, Denmark and Austria are less than 1 percentage point from their 2020 targets. By contrast, France at 8.7 percentage points from reaching its national 2020 objective; the Netherlands at 8.5 pp; the United Kingdom at 8.0 pp; and Ireland at 7.4 pp are the furthest away from achieving their targets.

Spain stands at almost the EU average with renewables accounting for 16.2% of gross energy consumption in 2014. According to Eurostat figures, the country is 3.8 percentage points from achieving its 2020 target, a figure that coincides with the 20% figure for the EU as a whole.

Shopping centres are structures that, due to their characteristics, have very high energy consumption. Their extensive opening hours, high customer turnover and the need to offer comfortable and visually appealing surroundings for the consumer translate into a significant energy demand in terms of HVAC, lighting, lift and escalator operation, among many other uses. As such energy plays a fundamental role when supplying the services and the quality that a commercial space offers its clients.

As big energy consumers, shopping centres offer a huge potential for energy saving. The management of the energy demand by shopping centres aims to achieve optimal energy performance with minimum energy consumption, while always covering the needs for lighting or HVAC that guarantee client comfort and the quality of the service provided.

In the commercial sector, and more specifically, in the case of shopping centres, a growing interest has been identified in undertaking actions to improve efficiency and save energy. Read more…

Article published in: FuturENERGY December 2015

As buildings, shopping centres have some very particular energy needs. They are extensive, much-visited spaces that need an adequate level of thermal comfort and, depending on their activity (as in the case of supermarkets), have other requirements such as refrigeration. This represents a significant energy expenditure that, at European level, is estimated to be 157 Mtoe (according to data from the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Action Plan in 2005). The CommONEnergy project has been set up by 23 stakeholders from ten countries (Spain, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, the UK, Greece, Poland and Germany) with the aim of developing a methodology for the energy retrofitting of shopping centres that will achieve a reduction of 75% in the energy demand of these buildings.

The CommONEnergy project is co-funded by the European Union through the VII Framework Programme and is currently at its halfway stage after its launch in October 2013. To date, energy analysis and diagnostic tasks have been undertaken and from now and up to September 2017 when the project closes, the measures agreed under the demonstration cases will be implemented to test their efficacy. The project consortium brings together 23 stakeholders from different EU countries, including three from Spain: the CARTIF Technological Centre, the Valladolid City Hall and Acciona.

All over Europe, there are some 5,700 commercial spaces that account for almost 30% of the entire non-residential building stock. These buildings are frequently perceived as icons of a consumer society, with a high energy demand, high CO2 emissions and a high level of waste generation. Precisely for this reason, the main objective of the CommONEnergy project is to facilitate practical support solutions and tools to transform these spaces into buildings of reference as a result of their architecture and energy efficient systems, reducing their energy bills and at the same time minimising greenhouse gas emissions and improving the image of the centres thereby attracting new customers. Read more…

Javier Antolín
Researcher, CARTIF Technological Centre

Article published in: FuturENERGY December 2015

Energy management is an organised energy consumption forecast and control procedure that aims to achieve maximum possible energy output without diminishing performance level (comfort, light level, etc.). Energy is power in time and in this second factor, usage management is where energy savings can be achieved in addition to reducing the environmental impact of municipal installations.

A thorough understanding of the energy-consuming installations of a municipality requires the input of an expert technical team to assess the current situation and evaluate proposals that have acceptable investment recovery periods, give the necessary guarantees and offer the best technology in each case.

A3e, the association of energy efficiency companies, of which Letter Ingenieros is a member, proposes three types of audit depending on the level of detail required: diagnostic, audit and ESCO audit. For a municipality that would like to enter into an Energy Services (ESCO) contract the latter is fundamental as this will contribute information to the specifications that is non-binding in the event of inventory errors or subsequent investments that might be omitted from the tender. This latter audit should include a standardised study of the installations in order to establish the non-savings services to be included in the contract, as well as the business plan, so that the ESCOs can assess the profitability of the project with all the information on the table. Read more…

María Ávila Montoro
Commercial Director, Letter Ingenieros

Article published in: FuturENERGY November 2015